This has been a year of challenges. First the pandemic, now the ﬂood. Our city received more than four times the normal amount of November rain in a single day. We thought that this was a 1 in 250 year event – the latest crunching of data indicates this was an underestimate.
My thoughts are with those who self-evacuated to friends and whanau, or who are currently staying in temporary accommodation such as Kennedy Park.
We recognise this weather event has been distressing and has had devastating consequences for many. I appreciate many are still feeling anxious – and this is quite normal.
As our Customer Service team has told us, the amount of time people spend engaging with them has increased since lockdown. People look to them for information, and guidance.
So what are we doing as a Council, to help you? For those ratepayers who have been displaced, we are offering rates remission.
As we move from response to recovery mode, many staff will still be working with central Government agencies to ensure those affected receive the help they need. We also have a Napier City Mayoral Relief Flood Response Fund that residents can apply to for help with costs not covered by insurance or central Government.
We have carried out reviews of our infrastructure, which indicate they coped as expected, given the standards to which they are built and which are the norm throughout New Zealand.
I would like to thank staff who worked long hours during and after this event, who are still dealing with flood related issues, and who will continue to do so. We will be figuring out next steps, factoring in such things as climate change, resourcing for permanent repairs to affected roads, for example, and other event-related projects.
I would like to thank the emergency services staff, Te Taiwhenua O Te Whanganui A Orotu and others who helped with the response.
Last but certainly not least I would like to thank you, the community, for your patience and understanding to date and for the huge swell of community support we have witnessed to assist those in need.
He waka eke noa – we are in this together.
Graeme Taylor was ﬁrst elected to Napier Council in 2013. The third term councillor chairs the Prosperous Napier committee, is deputy chair of the hearings committee, and is a member of the District Licensing, Audit & Risk & CE Contract committees. He holds the Sport and Recreation portfolio.
I had a year as a Whanganui District councillor before moving to Auckland to become CEO of the Halberg Trust. I really enjoyed that small taste and when my wife Wendy and myself returned to Napier and I had the time, I ran for council. I’ve always been interested in politics. Being a councillor means having a part to play in how the city develops and being in touch with the community.
I’m a former police officer and CE of Sport Whanganui. I work for the Masonic Trust, looking after two residential care facilities and ﬁve retirement villages locally. A signiﬁcant part of my life has been devoted to sport, from rugby - playing, coaching and administrating – through to triathlons. It’s given me all sorts of opportunities. I took up tramping, which led on to hunting and It’s something I’m now very keen on. I spend time in the back country with a group of mates at least a couple of times a year.
I love living in Taradale, and Napier has an absolutely magniﬁcent buzz about it. It’s the mixture of Art Deco, modern concepts, lifestyle, easy travelling routes, great green spaces and facilities.
Working for Sport Whanganui and the Halberg Trust got me interesting in working with minority groups. Many people may know of the sports awards that bear his name, but Murray Halberg’s philosophy was inclusion for all.
What do you wish you had more time for?
More time to relax would be good. We have been lucky to travel in the past and we hope to do more. With the pandemic, this means within New Zealand. We recently visited Cape Reinga for the ﬁrst time. Also, spend more time with our ﬁve grandchildren.
We have a 12-year-old black lab called Sumo.
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